Alumnae: Alumnae Stories

Alumnae Stories

Andrea Irvin, C’2003, Named White House ACA Champion of Change

April 2016

Andrea IrvinAndrea Irvin, C'2003, manager of community service in the Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development, was honored at the White House on March 25 as a Champion of Change for the Affordable Care Act. She is one of 10 Champions of Change selected this year for their dedication to improving access to healthcare. Irvin was recognized for engaging Spelman students in healthcare enrollment in the Atlanta community.

Under her leadership, the College placed second in the White House Health Communities Challenge HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action to raise awareness of ACA coverage options and enrollment deadlines in states with large percentages of uninsured residents. The Champions of Change program recognizes individuals for extraordinary efforts to empower and inspire people in their communities.

White House Champions of Change

In her own words ...

One of my fondest childhood memories is of the hours I spent piecing together puzzles. I started with simple board puzzles, and eventually graduated to 1000-piece jigsaws. There was something about getting a box of mismatched pieces and turning them into a finished picture that made me feel accomplished. I did not realize it then, but my fondness for puzzles ultimately helped shape the way I view the world. 

Today, as Spelman College's manager of community service, it is my duty to create meaningful service opportunities for our students. My efforts led to the development of a partnership with Enroll America, the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. Educating myself about the organization’s work with the Affordable Care Act and their mission to connect local citizens to healthcare coverage options, afforded me the opportunity to establish a new connection, and perfectly join together what seemed to be puzzle pieces for the students I serve. By setting up community service “phone-banking” events on campus in the evenings and weekends, I was able to create a pathway for students to support Enroll America's causes. This effort resulted in a wonderful collaborative experience that has proven to be an invaluable community service initiative. It also helped the College create local awareness and inform consumers about viable ways to secure healthcare coverage for their families. Ultimately, combining these elements has led to a ‘perfect fit’ for the community. Like the puzzles I pieced together as a child, this experience is an honor I will cherish for years to come.